Wednesday, 28 April 2010

First look at Family Finder

The results of my autosomal DNA test with Family Tree DNA have now been posted.

In case you're not into genetic genealogy the bottom line is that I found no new close cousins, but some interesting hints at possible more distant relatives.

For those familiar with the way FTDNA results are presented, Family Finder results are posted on your myFTDNA results page in a section inserted above Y-DNA results. Under the heading Family Finder there are two subsections

* MATCHES: View your Family Finder Matches.
* CHROMOSOME BROWSER: View your Family Finder Matches and compare people at the Chromosomal level.

You can filter your MATCHES by a variety of criteria. The default is "close and immediate", which is up to 4th cousin. In my case there were none. However, there were 22 matches for "speculative" relatives, usually specified as fifth cousin or more distant. Occasionally the speculative category includes fourth cousins when particularly long matching DNA sequences are identified. For each match identified you see the person's name, a link to send an e-mail, the suggested relationship, relationship range, a figure for the amount of shared DNA given in centiMorgans, the longest single block of shared DNA also in centiMorgans, a button for you to assign the relationship, and a list of the surnames in the other person's family tree if they have supplied that information.

A centiMorgan, abbreviated cM, is a measurement of how likely an area of DNA is to recombine from one generation to the next. A single centiMorgan is considered equivalent to a 1% (1/100) chance that a segment of DNA will crossover or recombine within one generation.

Judging by a small sample of data from my test, 500 SNPs (the locations tested) is roughly equivalent to 2 cM. 500 SNP matching blocks are the smallest the company choses to report.

The maximum amount of DNA I shared was 51.50 cM with a single block of 9.19 cM.

The largest single block was 12.50 cM out of a total 31.60 cM for that person. Shortly after the results were posted I received an email from that person, a Canadian. We think we know the surname that connects us but donlt have a paper trail back far enough to establish the connection.

You can also filter by SURNAMES. I had a few variant, Reed and Ready for Reid matches.

CHROMOSOME BROWSER shows the exact chromosome blocks on which you match up to three specific people in both diagram and table form. I suspect this would be of greater interest if you have closer cousin matches than I enjoy at present.

If you're looking for more information on this Family Finder test a good next step would be reading the FAQ at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this item and the link. To read about it is fascinating and enlightening. Becoming a "project administrator" sounds like a job involving much proselytizing and much time. My hobby as "family historian" already involves much time and communication. However, the testing would be of interest to me if there is a "special" price announced in future. Anne S.